Category: Meeting Summary

April 10, 2019 – Aging in Ghana

Cati Coe, an anthropologist based at Rutgers University, discussed the problem of aging in Ghana, a situation probably typical of African countries.

 

As elsewhere, people are living longer due to reductions in infant mortality. Even with a decline in the birth rate, 50% of the Ghanaian population is under age 30; 5%, over age 65.

 

The traditional way of caring for the elderly has been to keep the people in the family. Ghanaians still respond that in the West, particularly in America, families do not play the same role; public opinion suggests that the local society is superior to the West in this regard. However, with large-scale emigration from rural areas to the cities, and paradoxically with the growth of a middle-class, families are finding it increasingly difficult to maintain the elderly only with relatives. Most commonly, women from the outside are hired to help in homes.

 

Dr. Coe has done most of her research in southeast Ghana, which is a rural area with a preponderance of elderly families because younger persons have emigrated. What care that is provided by the community is usually church centered, often in fellowship groups, but care in the home  or in group living is rare.

 

Dr. Coe also explored some sporadic attempts to set up what we in the West call continuing care homes, but there are very few people in such homes.

March 27, 2019 – Emlen School

Meredith Sutzer, school counselor, and Tina Fields,  community partnership coordinator, Emlen Elementary school (K-5), discussed the school. The school currently has 375 children, two classes per grade. The school enrollment consists of 100% free and reduced lunch children (low income).

 

The school has a number of partnerships with community associations to provide services for the students – e.g., the Germantown soccer club, a hockey group, a community garden, computers on loan, girls on the run program (for building self-confidence). Students from Germantown Friends school have assembled a large number of books and arranged them into a library for use by all the schoolchildren. The school system currently supplies programs for gym, art, and computers; there is no music program and no formal health education program.

 

In the past our club has distributed dictionaries all third-graders in this school.

 

The school experiences a severe problem of truancy (defined as six unexcused absences). Since these are such young children, it is assumed that these absences are a function of lack of parental support for school attendance.

March 13, 2019 – Clean Water in Philadelphia

Dottie Baumgartner explained stormwater management in Philadelphia in some detail. It is important to manage the rain as it comes off of one’s property, since in this neighborhood all water flows down to the Wissahickon Creek. This is our neighborhood drinking water! The intake is in the Queen Lane treatment center, where the water is prepared for drinking.

 

The Wissahickon watershed area consists of those areas, stretching from Montgomery County through Philadelphia, where rainwater runs into the creek. This watershed is part of a larger Schuylkill River watershed area.

 

In Philadelphia, some 40% of residences split rainwater runoff from sewage; 60% have combined sewers. It is therefore important that rainwater run onto the land and not directly into the sewers. In periods of heavy rainfall, the sewer lines become full and the combined rainwater-sewage runs directly into the creek or into the Schuylkill River.

 

The cycle of treatment is as follows: runoff into the river  à treatment plant à homes à wastewater treatment à river.

 

Dottie Baumgartner was formally a science teacher. She took business courses at the Business Center (run by our own Pam Rich-Wheeler) to help her prepare for a transition to independent consultant and educator. She now works primarily for the Philadelphia Water Department and several schools.)

March 6, 2019 – W. Phila. Alliance for Children

Anisha Sinha, Executive Director, West Philadelphia Alliance for Children (WEPAC)

 

WEPAC is an organization devoted to promoting reading among elementary school children. Of the 237 public schools in Philadelphia, only seven have full-time librarians. A few schools have libraries and librarians supported by neighborhood organization.

 

WEPAC works with principals and teachers in specific schools to develop libraries. Currently 14 schools are being served, with the hope of serving 20 by the end of the next school year. The organization delivers books and coordinates volunteers to help in these individual schools. It requires $25,000 to open the library, though maintenance costs afterwards are much less.

 

WEPAC works with existing organizations, such as Team First Book Philadelphia, as well as with the Philadelphia school district itself.in order to reach its goals for the next two years, the organization must raise $200,000.

 

The organization may be supported by donations of supplies and books, by volunteer time, and by contributing the funding.

 

The current emphasis is on grades K-4.

 

It is difficult to evaluate the program, but surveys of teachers indicate that 70% of the teachers involved in the program see a positive impact on the children.

 

 

 

February 27, 2019 – Councilwoman Cindy Bass

Councilwoman Cindy Bass discussed her proposal to eliminate the 10 year tax abatement in Philadelphia. The tax abatement program in the city goes back to the 1990s, and it was successful in supporting development in Center City.

 

Councilwoman Bass feels that the program was successful in the past, but it helped only in certain neighborhoods. Now is the time to end this abatement so that funds can be raised to support the Philadelphia school system and to combat poverty in the city. She estimates that cancellation of the abatement will recover $500-$700 million over five years.

 

Other bills have been introduced that would restrict the abatement in various ways. No hearings have been scheduled on these bills in city Council, and Councilwoman Bass has taken on the task of persuading the Council to hold hearings on her proposal.

February 27, 2019 – Councilwoman Cindy Bass

Councilwoman Cindy Bass discussed her proposal to eliminate the 10 year tax abatement in Philadelphia. The tax abatement program in the city goes back to the 1990s, and it was successful in supporting development in Center City.

 

Councilwoman Bass feels that the program was successful in the past, but it helped only in certain neighborhoods. Now is the time to end this abatement so that funds can be raised to support the Philadelphia school system and to combat poverty in the city. She estimates that cancellation of the abatement will recover $500-$700 million over five years.

 

Other bills have been introduced that would restrict the abatement in various ways. No hearings have been scheduled on these bills in city Council, and Councilwoman Bass has taken on the task of persuading the Council to hold hearings on her proposal.

November 28, 2018 – PA Horticultural Society

Today’s meeting was held at Face-To-Face Germantown, a charitable organization that was described to us several weeks ago at a club meeting. The club made a donation to the organization today.

 

Presentation by Glen Abrams, Philadelphia Horticultural Society (PHS)

The single biggest project of PHS is the annual flower show, which has been running since 1829. The 2019 show is scheduled for March 2-10, and is entitled “Flower Power ”.

 

Glen reviewed a number of the programs that PHS is involved in outside of the flower show:

The greenhouse in Meadowbrook

pop-up gardens

Greening project

City Harvest – working with prisoners to provide jobs for returning citizens

Neighborhood Gardens Trust – local gardens

Tree Tenders – training for the care of trees. 2000 trees planted annually

Treevitalize watersheds – work with local districts to reforest along streams

Philadelphia land care – clean and maintain 12,000 vacant lots – work with local residents and businesses Neighborhood parks – improve local sites

Maintain public landscapes – for example, around Rodin Museum, Navy Yard

Horticultural education schools

Rain check – residential stormwater management

Horticultural education

 

PHS, founded in 1827, has 21,000 member households and 5000 volunteers. It has a budget of $27.5 million.

November 7, 2018 – Rotary Foundation, Bududa Learning Center, Novelist

November 7, 2018 – Rotary Foundation, Ugandan Learning Center, Andra Watkins, novelist

 

Through a scheduling mix-up, we had three speakers this past week, but those in attendance were invigorated and charmed by all three of the speakers.

 

  1. Bonnie Korengel, representing District 7454 Rotary international and assistant regional Rotary foundation coordinator

The Rotary foundation was founded over 100 years ago. All the projects supported by the foundation have now been fit under six major areas: promoting peace, fighting disease, providing clean water, saving mothers and children, supporting education, and growing local economies.

 

Statistics to illustrate these issues: 400 million children immunized against polio every year, one in three people worldwide lack access to a toilet, 1 in 10 people lack access to clean water, 59 million children of primary school age are not enrolled in school, 750 million adults are illiterate, 2/3 of them are women.

 

To these ends, the foundation has a fund drive every year with the slogan EREY: Every Rotarian Every Year. Our local chairman is Lou Richman.

 

The money raised by the foundation is kept for three years, and the earnings on this support the administration of the fund. After that time, the money is returned, to be used for district grants (in 2018-19, $86,563 came back to District 7450) and half is used for global grants.

 

  1. Barbara Wybar, administrator of Wybar Learning Center in Bududa, Uganda

Barbara is a Quaker called to go to Uganda, where she has helped to run the Learning Center. The biggest project currently is a vocational Academy, where seven categories of skills are taught to locals.

 

Our club as a tradition of donating money for support of this center.

 

  1. Andra Watkins (andrawatkinslcom) is a novelist interested in historical phenomena. She wrote a novel about the supposed suicide of Meriwether Lewis (of Lewis and Clark), and then decided to publicize this novel by walking the 444 mile Natchez Trace.

 

Andra gave a very stimulating description of getting started on this walk, and how she eventually bonded with her father. She wrote a memoir that is very touching in its description of the changing relationship that she has had with her father because of this trip – Not Without My Father. She has written three novels based on historical circumstances, all available both in print and as e-books.

October 31, 2018 – just vote – it matters

October 31, 2018 – Just Vote – It Matters

Dennis Lee, who has worked in the office of the City Commissioner (voting supervision), founder of the organization Just Vote, emphasizes that this is a movement to promote, create awareness, and energize voters on the importance of why every vote matters

This is a nonpartisan organization, working to bring out voters, regardless of whom they vote for in any given election, only 12 to 20% of the voters vote. In the November 2018 election, it is projected that 25% of the over 1 million eligible voters in Philadelphia will vote.

Philadelphia County has about 800,000 Democrats registered, and about 125,000 Republicans. The second largest concentration of voters in the state, Allegheny County, has about 560,000 Democrats and 240,000 Republicans.

In 2017, in Philadelphia only the ninth Ward, including Chestnut Hill, had a turnout exceeding 50%. In some divisions, no one voted at all.

Dennis emphasized the importance of voting for the maintenance of a democracy. He stressed the message that one should make voting a part of one’s strategic plan. “Just Vote – It Matters”.

October 17, 2018 – District governor

We inducted Monty Claybrook as a new member.

 

Certificate of appreciation for Rotary work presented by District Governor Paul Quintavalla to Rebecca Anwar

 

Pau L Quintavalla, district Governor, has begun his year as Governor of District 7450.

Goals:

1) to have the clubs served better by the administration of the district

2) to get clubs to know one another

Methods to do this:

Increase of assistant governors to 14, each with 4 clubs. They will visit each club twice a year.

The president of each club should meet with the president of at least 3 other clubs.

 

Strategic plan for the district – currently in draft form

Review of district bylaws, 37 pages have been reduced to 7 pages

Publicity committee – teach clubs how to use the Internet to recruit members

Exchange of club information

There will be a list of fundraising project in all district clubs

November 10 – Rotary foundation day, each club must have at least one participant to be eligible for district or international groups.

Webinars will be added on this topic

The district newsletter is available online.

District conference – set for March 15-16, 2019